Cure is worse than the illness?

Many of you are quite familiar my dairy allergy by now and Jason’s food sensitivities. Of late, the makers of the drug Advair have been airing many commercials for the product. Over the course of this allergy, one doctor put me on Clarinex, Advair, Singulair and a rescue inhaler due to my breathing problems. She admitted that people develop environmental allergies and it’s difficult to track them all, so we would treat the symptoms. I took the first to three drugs daily and cocktail treated the symptoms quite effectively for the most part. I used the rescue inhaler as a last resort, a few times a month. At the time I was not aware of my true allergy, milk products. I was reading a forum that when I ran across a post that mentioned the milk content in Advair. (link to pdf from maker)) I had to laugh at the fact that I had treated myself with the allergen. Oh well!!

In which I purchased too many books again

Aug. 28-30:
After visiting GR and purchasing books at a sale, I remembered that Big Rapids Public Library was having a sale on Labor Day weekend, Friday and Saturday. Of course, I had to go Friday and Saturday. I again purchased a few books, but I have a plan. When I read a book, if it’s not absolutely wonderful, I will either donate it back to the library sale or put it in a pile to sell or trade. Among my finds, several C.S. Lewis non-fiction titles, a nice Reader’s Digest book of making things by hand including canning, and a Wallace & Grommit book.

In which I finally fix a theme

The more time I spend digging around themes, the more I learn about WordPress, PHP, and CSS. I am consistently downloading themes that don’t work correctly with my Gallery2 plug-in. Don’t confuse this with the new, built-in WordPress gallery. This is the independent application with a plug-in that powers my photos page. With few exceptions, the themes I download consistently break the footer on my photo page or the sidebar on my library page generated by Now Reading. I really like the current theme, Fall Season 1.1, but the footer on the photo page was not playing well with the plug-in. For a while, I wanted to blame the two previously mentioned plug-ins, but they both play well with WordPress Default theme. That fact lead me to the logical conclusion that the themes are broken. I have also started to “fix” the themes that don’t come with dynamic (changeable) sidebars. I downloaded Fresh Editorial today looked to be dynamic when I grabbed it, the proper code was in place for the functions file, but was absent in the sidebar file. I think I understand why, it was a bit complicated to make the sidebar look the same after updating it, but with a little tweaking, it would be possible. I have chosen not to spend more time on it at this point, as their site doesn’t support FireFox 3 so i am unable to leave comments unless I visit their site with Internet Explorer. See comments for why I was unable to leave a comment. I also found a wonderful Christmas theme, Winter Red. Winter Red will need tweaking as both the library page and the photo page are seriously out of whack.

All this to say I think I am the only one getting anything out of metablogging, but in the hopes that someone else using WordPress and these themes happens to search for how to fix things, I’d like to have an answer for them.

Microfinance through Kiva

I joined Apr 11, 2007, after watching a special featuring microfinance on PBS. Kiva provides a way for lenders to meet entrepreneurs based on a variety of criteria: country, gender and/or type of work. I believe that it took a few days for Kiva to have enough entrepreneurs for all of us to fund, after all a PBS special has a wider audience than anticipated . When searching for loans to fund, I decided that where possible, I would fund women in Kenya. I later revised that plan to fund both men and women in Kenya, much needs to be done to encourage all Kenyans to find employment and funding half the population was a bit short-sighted. When I first joined, loans were funded completely and lenders waited until full repayment of loans were made before using the monies again. Basically, repayments sat in limbo in either Kiva’s account or the Kiva’s partner’s account. Two days ago, Kiva changed the policy and now immediately places repaid monies into lender accounts. I happily discovered a little over $27US in my account and a Kenyan man desiring a loan. So my account is happily empty again.

Anyone can create an account on their own or I can send an invite. I have no idea what an invite gets me, except a statistic on one of my pages and a nifty email sent out in my name:

I wanted to let you know about Kiva , a non-profit that allows you to lend as little as $25 to a specific low-income entrepreneur in the developing world.

You choose who to lend to – whether a baker in Afghanistan, a goat herder in Uganda, a farmer in Peru, a restaurateur in Cambodia, or a tailor in Iraq – and as they repay their loan, you get your money back. It’s a powerful and sustainable way to empower someone right now to lift themselves out of poverty.

Please keep in mind a couple of things: these loans are interest free from us and the lender assumes all responsibility for loss. Some interest is paid by the loanee to the field partner, but not to us as lenders. Kiva has a very low default rate because entrepreneurs are interviewed and selected on a very rigid criteria by trusted field partners, but it does happen. Of the four individuals I have loaned to, all belong to one of two field partners. Both organizations have a 0% default rate, but do have a higher delinquency rate. I believe this is because last November there was significant unrest in Kenya. All Kenyan lenders received a notice that due to the political instability of the region, loans were likely not to be repaid. Fortunately, many entrepreneurs were able to recover from their losses and continue their businesses. I cared very little about the loss of the monies, I desperately hoped they would recover and continue to provide for themselves and their families. If a lendee is unable to repay the loan, the monies are gone.

This graphic is a comparison of one of the field partner lenders in comparison to all Kiva field partners.